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The Trial of Ezra Pound, pt 1 of 5

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Uploaded on Oct 7, 2011

BBC Radio 3, Sunday, 20 Jul 2008, 21:30.


"To mark 2008's 50th anniversary of his release, historian Sean Street investigates how Ezra Pound, one of the 20th century's most important poets, was accused of treason by the US Government and held for years in a mental hospital after he made a series of anti-American and anti-Semitic broadcasts in Italy.

The programme investigates the significance of the case today, asking whether he committed treason or inconveniently used his right to free speech. With contributions from Pound's daughter Mary de Rachewiltz, his biographer David Moody and the playwright Bernard Kops, who wrote a play about Pound, in order to find out how we should view the complex and controversial poet."

Some quotes from Eustace Mullins' 'This Difficult Individual EZRA POUND'( 1961), the only authorized biography of Pound:

"Ezra Pound was not interested in Mussolini merely as one who could make the trains run on time, and meet the interest payments on Italian bonds held in London and New York vaults."

"The editorial page of the 'B'nai B'rith Messenger' of April 8, 1955, carried this note: "TALKING ABOUT unsavory characters, you might be interested in the fact that Ezra Pound, the poet who joined Hitler and Mussolini in the campaign of extermination of Jews, is well taken care of in the St. Elizabeths Hospital for mental diseases, in Washington, D.C."
This was typical of the allegations that were hurled against Pound throughout his imprisonment. This was the gratitude that was offered him for the forty years during which he helped Jewish poets, and shielded them from the death cars of the Gestapo. Pound had publicly criticized Hitler, was persona non grata with the Nazi government, as proven by their refusal to grant him a pass to Katyn, and had met Mussolini only once."

"When Ezra Pound was mentioned in literary periodicals, he was now (in 1943) condemned as a "Nazi", although he was persona non grata with the German government. He had publicly criticized Hitler as being "too hysterical", and at no time was he on good terms with any official of the Nazi regime."

" ...the legend was spread by his detractors that Pound was a key figure in the Mussolini government, a sort of Rudolf Hess in Rome... Pound had only one interview with Mussolini, although he never gave up hope of converting Il Duce to his monetary theories."

"Pound was not interested in Mussolini merely as one who could make the trains run in time, and meet the interest payments on Italian bonds held in London and New York vaults."

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